Boustead Beef Zimbabwe claims that it assumed full control of state-run Cold Storage Company (CSC) in 2019.
Nicholas Havercroft, director of the British firm, claims in the papers that the deal also involved the acquisition of Wetblue Industries, a subsidiary of CSC for an undisclosed amount.
The Standardbusiness reports that the details are contained in a document dated April 8, 2019. Reads the document in part:
Extract of minutes of a board meeting held at Harare, Zimbabwe on Monday, 8 April 2019. It was agreed that after the acquisition of the Cold Storage Company Zimbabwe and its subsidiary Wetblue Industries Pvt Ltd by Boustead Beef Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd, that the subsidiary be removed from judicial management.
It was further resolved that the judicial manager Mr Crispen Mwete will perform the necessary procedures to assist in uplifting the judicial management order with the master of the High Court in cooperation with the legal representatives of Wetblue Industries Pvt Ltd.
Havercroft would not disclose the acquisition figure in the deal when he spoke to Standardbusiness.
A statement on the website of MarillionEx, one of Havercroft’s firms, also claims that “Boustead recently acquired Africa’s largest beef production company from the Zimbabwe government (Cold Storage Company)”.
He repeats the same claim in his LinkedIn account.
Agriculture minister, Anxious Masuka, whose ministry administers CSC, recently said the government “remains committed to the successful resuscitation of CSC within the legal framework of the country and the agreement between Boustead Beef and government”.
Former Wetblue Industries judicial manager Crispen Mwete confirmed receiving the document adding, “but it is not true that he had acquired CSC.” He added:
I don’t know what his interpretation is. What I know is that he is supposed to have a 25-year lease.
Whether that can be called an acquisition I don’t know. It’s a genuine document. He wrote that thing.
CSC corporate rescue practitioner, Vonani Majoko also confirmed seeing the document suggesting that Boustead Beef acquired CSC and Wetblue Industries adding, “but I believe it is only a way of expression.”
Majoko added that there has been no suggestion that they acquired CSC but rather a joint venture agreement with the government.
Boustead, which has undertaken to invest about US$130 million into CSC over five years, has not injected any meaningful capital into the business.
Instead, the company has been collecting rentals from tenants but reinvesting into the business, according to Majoko.